College is one of the – if not the – biggest investment a student and his/her family will ever make. This holds true for most students, no matter how affordable their targeted colleges may be or how large of a scholarship they may have received.
The cost of college then creates financial strain for most families. Colleges offer financial assistance to many students to offset the high costs. However, very few colleges actually meet their students’ full financial needs.
The US News & World Report surveyed over 1,700 American colleges to publish a list of 63 colleges that claim to meet the full financial need of their students.
First, a college determines a student’s financial need by calculating his/her expected family contribution (EFC) and measuring the information he/she provides regarding his/her family’s earning power, size savings etc. on the FAFSA form.
A student’s financial need to attend a certain college is then the difference between the cost to attend that college and that student’s EFC, which remains fairly constant, but some schools do calculate it based on their own standards. Colleges will then offer aid to students to fill the gaps between the cost to attend and their EFC.
Many schools were not able to meet their students’ full needs during the recession because of shrinking endowments, donations and funding. However, colleges are now beginning to offer slightly more financial aid to students, making it easier to meet a student’s full financial needs.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering meets its students’ full financial needs, despite economic setbacks and its $38,425 tuition cost. The school offers a $3,500 direct subsidized loan to every student.
Washington and Lee University, a $40,387 college, also meets the full financial needs of its students. The college adjusts its financial budget and offers more grants and paid employment opportunities to students compared to most other colleges.
Colleges have to stretch their dollars and budgets to meet the full financial needs of all their students. Also, the system they use (total cost of attending minus your expected family contribution, EFC) is not always 100% accurate. Vanderbilt University and John Hopkins University fell a few points short of meeting their students’ full financial needs.
Click here for the complete list of all 63 schools that meet their students’ full financial needs.